The Kerry spinmeisters, like Maureen Dowd in today’s Times, are putting out the idea that Osama’s Friday afternoon sermon was meant to help Bush because, so the reasoning goes, Bush has been a great recruiting tool for the jihadists with his invasion of Iraq and all.
Bernard Lewis and Fouad Ajami, experts on the Muslim mind, don’t buy that. They note that Muslims are attracted to strength and repulsed by weakness. They also note that American policy toward the Muslim world has been for decades interpreted by Islamicists as expressions of fear and weakness.
During the past few decades, American policy has been one of accommodation toward Muslims, acts of compassion which to the jihaddists must not go unpunished. We forget that Reagan sent the Marines to Beirut to protect the PLO from Israelis and Christian militias. Unfortunately, Hezbollah didn’t respond with gratitude when they murdered the Marines in their barracks. Rather than retaliate by invading the terrorist strongholds in Lebanon and Syria, as George Shultz suggested, Reagan listened to the cautious Casper Weinberger and Colin Powell and refused to authorize an invasion.
Then we launched the humanitarian mission to bring food to starving Somalians. Again, murdered Marines, this time dragged through the streets of Mogadishu, followed once again by withdrawal.
Bush’s father invaded Iraq with UN permission and the support of all our allies (but not John Kerry’s) and we left Saddam Hussein in power. We thought we were being all multilateralist and respsonsible, but Muslims couldn’t believe we could have our hands around our enemy’s neck and then walk away to allow him to fight another day.
Bill Clinton intervened in the Balkans to save Muslims from genocidal Serbian Christians. Were the jihadists impressed? Not really, since Clinton ruled out the use of ground troops for fear that some Americans might get hurt. All our humanitarian war did was to reinforce the well-founded belief among the Arabs that American public opinion will not tolerate casualties.
Finally, Clinton pursued a disastrous policy of pressuring Israel to make concessions to the Arabs. In his pursuit of a Nobel Peace Prize from left wing Swedes, Clinton went so far as to send his political hit team of Carville, Begala, and Greenberg to run Ehud Barak’s campaign and thus helped elect the most peace oriented government in Israel’s history. Clinton and Barak proceeded to make concession after concession to the Arabs while ignoring Arafat’s many violations of the Oslo accords. Ultimately, Arafat rejected an unbelievably generous offer by Clinton at the end of his term, which was accepted by Barak, and then proceeded to launch a wave of suicide attacks against innocent Israelis.
What’s important here is that through all these compassionate and accommodationist American actions toward the Muslim world, the jihadists were preparing their assault on America that we now know as 9/11. Again, we thought that we were being helpful, positive, and concerned, all of which the jihadists interpreted as weakness and fear.
And what was Osama telling us on Friday? As I read it, he was offering us a deal: We’ll leave you alone if you leave us alone. This is the same deal Hitler offered Neville Chamberlain and Joe Stalin. And we all know how that turned out (although I wonder if there are many out there who know anything about history anymore). I suspect that he’d have rather sent us the kind of message he sent the Spanish last March, but since America is not Eurabia, he can’t pull it off.
The election of John Kerry would confirm in the Muslim mind that America will do what it has done over the last few decades when faced with casualties — run away. Now, which candidate gives voice to the desire of those American who would run away? A Kerry victory would confirm in the Arab mind that the jihadists are winning, which is their most powerful recruiting tool. To think otherwise is to be delusional.